How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Seattle, Washington

Responding to over 2,000 calls for assistance every day, the Seattle Police Department’s emergency dispatchers respond to anyone in the city who needs police, fire fighter, or emergency medical assistance.

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The following steps detail what’s involved in becoming a 911 dispatcher in Seattle, and can help you make a successful bid for the position:

Become a Qualified Applicant
Apply for an Open Position with the City of Seattle
Maintain your Qualifications



Step 1. Become a Qualified Applicant

There are several things you can do to make yourself stand out amongst your competition for 911 dispatcher jobs in Seattle:

Earn a Degree – There are at least nine colleges in Seattle that offer degrees in relevant subject areas, with many more resources to be found online. In addition to 911 operator training, having a two or four-year degree demonstrates you have already been able to make a multi-year commitment, have specialized knowledge, and are prepared to ascend the dispatcher career ladder:

  • Psychology
  • Communications
  • Homeland Security
  • Emergency Management
  • Law Enforcement
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Gain Relevant Experience – Having experience in these areas is a great way to introduce yourself at the job interview:

  • Ability to succinctly solicit information from callers
  • Previous demonstration of having good, polite communication skills
  • Previous experience dispatching, including with:


    • Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)
    • Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD)

Obtain Official Certifications – The Seattle Police Department’s 911 Center is the busiest in the state and also has the most extensive training program. Listing certifications such as the following shows you are prepared to meet this challenge:

  • Emergency Medical Dispatch
  • CPR
  • National Incident Management System
  • Emergency Number Professional



Step 2. Applying with the City of Seattle

The next step in learning how to become a 911 operator in Seattle is to submit an application for employment. Although you will work through the police department, you must apply through the city’s personnel office. You can do this online by first creating a job seeker account.

Next browse through the available online job postings. If you do not see any listings related to emergency communications dispatch, you can sign up to be notified when one of these positions becomes available.

Besides submitting a complete application, you will also need to include a police Personal History Information Packet that inquires extensively into your:

  • Financial history
  • Any previous criminal activity
  • Driving record
  • Any illegal drug use
  • Employment history



Step 3. Maintaining Your Qualifications

As you gain more experience working as an emergency dispatcher you will start to develop seniority. Experience combined with actively remaining up to date in your professional field is one of the fastest ways to achieve salary increases and promotions. Because of the nature of your work, the better 911 dispatcher you are, the more lives you will potentially save.

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Agencies such as the following provide continuing education in the field:

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